Officials test children of smelter workers for lead exposure

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Health officials are testing lead levels in the blood of children whose parents work at a central Indiana lead-smelting plant amid concerns those workers are tracking lead home on their clothing, exposing their kids to the toxic metal.

The Indiana State Department of Health will analyze the blood samples being collected this week and next by the Delaware County Health Department from the children of Exide Technologies workers.

Muncie pediatrician Robert Byrn says he noticed years ago that children with high lead levels often had a parent employed at Exide’s Muncie smelter, where workers recover lead from spent lead-acid automotive batteries and other batteries.

Health officials collecting the blood samples are focusing on children under age 7 and pregnant women.

Lead can harm youngsters’ brains and cause health problems.